Top high school players and college coaches from across the country gathered at Sportime Randall’s Island for the sixth annual John McEnroe Tennis Academy College Recruiting Combine.
Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors, the Combine gives high school players the opportunity to compete in front of and talk with college tennis coaches. The sixth installment of the Combine featured both local and international players, and helps to bridge the gap between players and coaches in the recruiting process.
“We have players from all areas coming to play here. We have kids from Singapore, Canada, China, some of the top players from those areas have come to play and it’s so fun to see how these matches have gone,” said Jay Harris, Director of Tennis at Sportime Roslyn and the JMTA College Recruiting Combine Director. “The thing these kids can showcase the most in this setting is effort, a sense of urgency, giving their all. The coaches have been noticing that.”
The Combine provides all players with a personal player portal that stores event information, draws and scores, as well as fitness and other testing results. One of the primary highlights of the weekend is the coaches panel that is moderated by Harris, where players and parents are able to ask direct questions to the coaches.
Players also receive Sports Vision testing performed by JMTA's official sports vision provider, Dr. Anne Reuter of Gold Coast Optometric Vision Performance, one of the nation's top experts in the world of Sports Vision training.
Tennis Analytics record all matches and offer packages to Combine participants for purchase, including edited match videos with detailed analytics, and a custom video player that will allow players to quickly view matches and to share them with college coaches.
Players compete against one another in match play to allow the coaches to see how they handle themselves during matches, and can evaluate how he or she would fit into their program. The match results also count towards a players’ Universal Tennis Rating (UTR).
“This is match play, we love seeing how they handle making tough calls,” said Stonehill head coach Lynne Smith. “When the pressure is on, will they make the tough call, that's the type of thing that matters. I love the kids that make a mistake and then adjust and do what they need to do.”
Adelphi head coach Rebecca Fakas added:
“Just looking for high energy and good tennis,” said Rebecca Fakas, who coaches the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Adelphi University on Long Island. “We're a local school so we love finding kids from the area. A huge thing we look for is who is gonna fit the culture of our team and fit in well. There was a very high quality of tennis and all of these players have been impressive.”
Zachary Cohen, a player at the Combine, was pleased with the way he was able to showcase mental toughness to the coaches:
“I think my mental game was great today, I was down big in the second set, but I was able to fix some things I was doing wrong and I really think I played strong. I think that playing hard and showing resiliency no matter what the score is the number one thing,” he said. “I believe that’s what matters most at a combine like this.”